Your Name Engraved Herein focuses on a high school romance between Jia-han and Birdy.

There’s a poignant love story in Your Name Engraved Herein, depicting a gay high school romance that takes place in Taiwan during the 1980s. The film is a classic tale about the excitement, the confusion, and the heartbreak that comes with your first love.

Your Name Engraved Herein is a beautifully told LGBT romance that will resonate with many viewers. You may have to watch the movie closely to appreciate all the subtleties in its nuanced storytelling.

Your Name Engraved Herein Summary

What is the original name?

刻在你心底的名字

When was the movie released?

2020

Where was the movie made?

Taiwan

What is the language used in the movie?

Mandarin

What is the movie’s genre?

Romance

How would you describe the movie?

Sad and bittersweet

How long is the movie?

Around 2 hours long

Is it based on a novel?

Yes, written by Di Fer

Plot

Jia Han and Birdy are two high school students who fall in love during a difficult time in Taiwan.

The movie takes place in 1987, a year when Taiwanese society went through a lot of revolutionary changes. Jia Han is a friendly, sensitive, and well-mannered high school student used to abiding by the rules. At the school swimming pool, Jia-han meets the glance of Birdy, a new transfer student with a defiant streak. Birdy is bold, spontaneous, and marches to the beat of his own drum.

After introducing themselves, the duo forms an unlikely friendship that will blossom into an epic love story for the rest of their high school days. Unfortunately, this is not a kind era for gay people and their forbidden romances. Any relationship between Jia-han or Birdy is bound to go through a lot of emotional turmoil.

Watch Your Name Engraved Herein Trailer

Your Name Engraved Herein Cast

Characters

Jia-Han Edward Chen (陳昊森) Edward Chen Instagram

Jia-han is an obedient high school student who always abides by the rules, or that was until he met Birdy anyway. He might remind you of a handsome, angelic boyfriend that anyone would love to bring home to their parents. Jia-han is a fiercely loyal friend, and will stay faithfully committed to one person until the end of time. A fun fact about Jia-han is that he’s very nimble with his hands.

Birdy Tseng Jing Hua (曾敬驊) Tseng Jing Hua Instagram

Birdy is an adorable rascal who is brave, strong-willed, and stands up for what he believes in. With his funny, lively, and whimsical personality, he’s like the male equivalent of the manic pixie dream girl. Don’t piss him off though, or he’ll urinate all over your car!

Supporting Cast

Ban Ban is played by the actress Mimi Shao (邵奕玫).

Ban-Ban

Mimi Shao (邵奕玫)

Father Oliver is played by the actor Fabio Grangeon.

Father Oliver

Fabio Grangeon

Jia Han's mom is played by the actress Lotus Wang (王彩樺).

Jia-Han’s mom

Lotus Wang (王彩樺)

Jia's classmate is played by the actor Eric Lin (林暉閔).

Jia Han’s classmate

Eric Lin (林暉閔)

The adult version of Jia-Han is played by thea ctor Leon Dai (戴立忍).

Jia-Han (Adult)

Leon Dai (戴立忍)

The adult version of Birdy is played by the actor Wang Shih-hsien (王識賢).

Birdy (Adult)

Wang Shih-hsien (王識賢)

Cast highlights

  • Before his breakout role in Your Name Engraved Herein, the actor playing Jia-Han (Edward Chen) built a repertoire of starring in BL dramas. He had a leading role in the 2017 series Red Balloon, playing a very similar character archetype as Jia-Han.
  • Edward was also one of the leads in the 2018 series Mermaid Sauna, showing a more comedic side to his acting capabilities.
  • The actress playing Jia-Han’s mother (Lotus Wang) appeared in the 2021 BL drama Be Loved In House, where she portrayed another mom character.

Your Name Engraved Herein Review

Review

Movie Review Score: 9

A-
Story

★★★☆

Romance

★★★★

Acting

★★★★

Ending

★★★☆

I only started to understand the nuances of Your Name Engraved Herein after a rewatch.

I didn’t love Your Name Engraved Herein right away. On my first watch, I thought the movie felt disjointed, especially in the second half where the pacing seemed off. There was a lot of crying and shouting, but I couldn’t quite follow the drama between the two main characters. Birdy was being especially opaque. He’s like a Katy Perry song, hot one moment and cold the next.

I only developed a newfound appreciation of Your Name Engraved Herein after reading the online analysis from the diehard fans. The fans who loved Your Name Engraved Herein are really dedicated, and there’s one fan who literally deciphered every scene in the movie with thousands of words. 😲 After reading this detailed film analysis, the movie started to make sense to me in a whole new light.

When I watched Your Name Engraved Herein again, I had a much better viewing experience with some context in mind. During the rewatch, I paid closer attention to Birdy’s character and I finally understood his motivations. Birdy did such a good job at hiding his feelings from Jia-han that he managed to fool the viewers as well. Once you see the story from his perspective, Your Name Engraved Herein feels a lot more coherent as a movie, and you’ll start appreciating many of its intricate nuances.

On my second viewing, Your Name Engraved Herein really resonated with me. I picked up on tiny details that I missed initially, like a subtle shift in a character’s facial reaction or a piece of dialogue with a deeper meaning. It was only when I started paying closer attention that I realized how beautifully crafted this movie was. The more I watched, the more my appreciation grew.

I came out of my rewatch seeing Your Name Engraved Herein in a new light, with a hugely improved opinion, as well as an emotional attachment to the two main characters. It’s a movie that made me think deeply and feel strongly. Even if I didn’t fully understand the story at first, I’m so glad that I watched it again.

📖 How is the story?

Good story

The story was a lot more nuanced than what I first thought. I’m so glad that I read the fan analysis afterwards, which elevated the movie for me.

💕 How is the romance?

Epic romance

This is a really sweet and poignant love story. I enjoyed the chemistry between the two leads, but I wished they had a couple more lighthearted scenes together before jumping into the teenage angst.

🎭 How is the acting?

Great acting

The acting is pretty great. The two young actors did a terrific job at depicting their characters’ emotional turmoil, particularly through their facial expressions.

😎 Who’s the best character?

Jia-Han

Jia-Han’s actor (Edward Chen) had the most substantial material to work with in the script. And he did a fantastic job, carrying all the emotional performances very well.

🍑 Is there any nudity?

Plenty of nudity

Yes, this is a skin-friendly movie! We see quick glimpses of buttocks from both leads as they frolick naked in the ocean.

🎯 Are there any triggers?

Homophobia

The homophobia is pretty rampant in this movie. There’s also an intense shower scene that pushes the boundaries of consent, but it’s essential to the plot.

⭐ What’s the best part?

The shower scene

The shower scene where Jia-han confronted Birdy took my breath away. It was such a powerful release of all the pent-up tension between the two characters.

📝 What would you change?

Less homophobia

I would reduce the excessive displays of homophobia and make them seem less over-the-top. Jia-han’s classmates were caricatures and they just didn’t feel like real people.

🏁 How is the ending?

Poignant ending

Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the ending and thought it tied up the story in a poignant way. I will talk more about my thoughts on the ending in the next section.

Your Name Engraved Herein Ending Explained

Ending

Adult Jia Han was surprised when Birdy approached him.

Jia-han and Birdy parted ways after high school, where Birdy cut all ties and moved away without providing his contact information. (This is the 1987 version of ‘ghosting’.) The two of them never communicated again for the next 30 years, until Uncle Gabriel’s death brought them to Quebec, Canada in 2020. During his overseas visit, Jia-han found out from Uncle Gabriel’s male lover (surprise, they’re all gay in this movie!) that Birdy paid his respects just recently. This got Jia-han all excited, and he started cruising the local pubs in hopes of bumping into his former high school lover.

Jia-han actually found Birdy with this needle-in-a-haystack approach, but got too scared to approach him. He hesitated for too long and let Birdy slip away again. Just when it seemed like Jia-han was never going to work up the courage, Birdy was the one who approached him instead! The two of them reunited on amicable terms, and they quickly reaffirmed their feelings for each other. Birdy finally admitted that he did love Jia-han during their time together.

Jia-han made an offer to invite Birdy back to his hotel room, but Birdy got hesitant and politely declined. As the two of them parted ways, Jia-han suddenly ran back outside because he wasn’t ready to leave Birdy behind. He wanted to keep Birdy company for a little longer, and Birdy just chuckled as the two of them continued walking into the night.

Does the movie have a happy ending?

Uncle Gabriel dies at the end of Your Name Engraved Herein.

I think Your Name Engraved Herein had a pretty happy ending. Both men were finally able to put down their emotional baggage and reconnect again. It was unfortunate they didn’t contact each other for over three decades, losing all those precious years between them. Nonetheless, the romantic spark is still there, no matter how long they’ve been apart.

Do they end up together in the end?

This was kept pretty open-ended, but I’d like to think so. I’ve a hard time believing that Jia-han is going to let go of Birdy this time after sinking his claws into him. With enough persistence, he’ll find a way to snare Birdy back into his hotel room one day. 😉

Are you satisfied with the ending?

Birdy calls Jia-Han during a moment of weakness.

It was a decent ending. The movie could’ve ended more spectacularly, but I guess this low-key reunion was acceptable. If anything, the ending probably went on a little too long, and the transition into their adult lives could’ve been smoother.

I also wished we didn’t have to wait 30 years for them to meet again, but it was probably a thematic choice to wait this long since Taiwan made same-sex marriage legal in 2019. Still, couldn’t Jia-han send Birdy a Facebook friend request or slide into his Instagram DMs earlier?

How did you interpret the ending?

The adult versions of Jia-han and Birdy reunited in Canada decades later.

No matter how much time has passed or how much Birdy tries to push him away, Jia-han is never going to stop loving Birdy. This is a permanent, unwavering love engraved into the essence of Jia-han’s soul.

Your Name Engraved Herein Scene Analysis

Best Scenes

Walnut scene

Early in the movie, Birdy performed a bunch of quirky, whimsical gestures around Jia-han to impress him. My favourite example was when he sneaked into Jia-han’s bed in the middle of the night to share walnuts with him. This scene came right after the two of them witnessed their classmate being gay-bashed, so you’d think Birdy would take extra precautions around Jia-han. Instead, Birdy was as bold as ever, literally climbing into bed with Jia-han without a care in the world. He wanted to be with Jia-han in this moment, and nothing was going to stop him.

What I liked about this scene was the intimacy between the two characters: “Those sounds, on such a quiet night, sounded like heartbeats.” At this point, they weren’t physically affectionate with each other yet, but you can definitely see the two of them growing closer together.

Birdy and Jia Han share walnuts together in bed.
Birdy and Jia Han share walnuts together in bed.

The scene where they almost kissed

In the privacy of a secluded room, you tend to forget your surroundings. In this scene, Jia-han thought he was alone with Birdy when he leaned in curiously for a kiss, only for an employee to interrupt the moment and barge into the room. You’re not as alone as you think you are…

What I liked about the scene was the ambiance. The crimson red lighting was a great choice to convey the sense of danger in Jia-han’s actions. In this moment, I could feel my heart thumping as Jia-han’s lips grazed across Birdy’s. A million questions were racing through my mind: Will he do it? Are they gonna get caught? What’s gonna happen to them?

Jia-han and Birdy almost kissed in this scene before the employee barged in.
Jia-han and Birdy almost kissed in this scene before the employee barged in.

Jukebox scene

I call this the jukebox scene because it’s the easiest reference, but I want to discuss the entire segment where Birdy was opening up to Jia-han. This happened right after they witnessed the LGBT protester get arrested on the bridge, and Birdy seemed really shaken by the incident. Take a look at some of his dialogue afterwards:

  • “What would you do if I died?”
  • “Nobody understands me in this world.”
  • “Sometimes, I feel like one of those useless people.”

Up until this point, we knew Birdy more through his actions than his words. This was the first time we see an introspective side of him, and his thoughts were a lot more morose than you’d expect. You can tell Birdy wanted to have a serious conversation, but Jia-han was so happy about them spending time together that he couldn’t pick up on the hints.

This was also the scene where Birdy confessed his feelings for Jia-han, but in a really coded way. Listen to the part when he quoted the literature: “If what you give me is the same as what you give to others, then I don’t want it.” Isn’t this a very academic way of telling somebody that you want to be more than just friends with him?

Of course, his confession completely flew by Jia-han’s head. You can even see Birdy’s expression falter when Jia-han didn’t respond appropriately. In this scene, you can tell Birdy was testing the waters and tried to open up about his real feelings. Sadly, Jia-han was clueless and just wouldn’t reciprocate.

Birdy opens up, but Jia-han doesn't really pick up the hints.
Birdy opens up about his feelings, but Jia-han doesn’t really pick up the hints.

Cinema scene

The scene where Birdy and Jia-han explored the cinema booth was beautifully shot. I loved the lighting and the scene composition, especially when they were performed shadow puppets on the screen. This scene also featured some great character development, and we learned about Birdy’s aspirations of becoming a filmmaker.

“Don’t you think things are more fun in the movies than in real life?” A seemingly innocuous comment from Birdy, but it’s tinged with sadness if you look closer into his words.

Birdy and Jia-han spend time together in the cinema.

Balloon scene

After Birdy got attacked by Jia-han’s friends (note to Jia-han: get better friends), this marked a pointed change in their relationship. At this point, Birdy knew their love would never be accepted by society, which meant pursuing a romance would be dangerous for both of them. It was only a matter of time before the homophobes shifted their attention to Jia-han himself, and he’d be the new target of abuse. To protect Jia-han’s safety, Birdy decided that he must put a stop to their relationship.

The balloon scene was Birdy’s most obvious attempt at sabotaging their relationship. He took Jia-han’s coded love confession and put it on the balloon, but pretended he was delivering this message to Ban-Ban instead. Of course, Ban-Ban had no idea what the hell this coded message meant. All she saw was a large colourful balloon in the air and thought it was a grand demonstration of love! 😍

But for Jia-han, the meaning was clear: Birdy rejected his confession by declaring his love to another girl instead. It was like the ultimate slap in the face for poor Jia-han, to have his own words be used against him.

Jia-han helped Birdy steal a balloon in the middle of the night.
Jia-han helped Birdy steal a balloon in the middle of the night.

Old man scene

Oh my god, the scene with the old man was memorable for its shock value. We meet this nice old man at the park, who drank tea, fed the seagulls, and was even kind enough to offer Jia-han a steamed bun. Aww, how nice of him to comfort Jia-han when he was feeling down…

AND THEN!!! In the very next moment, we suddenly see this old man thrust his hands down Jia-han’s pants, while slobbering all over his body. It was blunt, it was explicit, and it was nasty. I didn’t see this scene coming and I couldn’t believe what I was watching. Did…did Jia-han just get sexually solicited with a steam bun!? What is happening here!?

Jia-han has a sexual encounter with an old man in the park.
Jia-han has a sexual encounter with an old man in the park.

Shower scene

Anyone who watched Your Name Engraved Herein will remember the shower scene. This is unarguably the most memorable scene in the movie, where Jia-han’s repressed feelings culminated to a breaking point.

The scene began innocently enough. I’ll give Jia-han the benefit of the doubt and believe that he wanted to help Birdy take a shower due to his injury. Whatever his original intentions were, it didn’t take long before the shower scene escalated, in exactly the way you knew it would. Imagine putting these two characters in a tiny enclosed space, buck naked, and with lots of physical contact initiated. The sexual tension just writes itself in this scene.

Needless to say, the shower got very steamy between the two characters. “Chang Jia-han, that’s enough.” Birdy protested weakly, as Jia-han’s hands continued to travel beyond his navel, with his wet fingers gliding across his skin. But there’s no stopping him now. Rub-a-dub-dub, get ready to soap up, bud!

Jia-han massaged Birdy's body with soap in the shower.
Jia-han massaged Birdy’s body with soap in the shower.

Shower kiss scene

When I first watched the shower scene, it did cross my mind that Jia-han was being kinda predatory towards Birdy. Since then, I watched this scene many times (for the purpose of writing my movie analysis, of course 🤓) and I have a different interpretation now. The shower scene was more about Jia-han confirming his suspicions that Birdy felt the same way about him. It was an extreme action for sure, but Jia-han needed clarification from Birdy’s mixed signals.

With a helping hand from Jia-han, Birdy shot a large wad of evidence to confirm that yes, he did feel the same way, no matter how hard he tried to repress this attraction. When he ejaculated, and they met each other’s glance, Birdy knew he could no longer hide in his denial. This was Birdy in his vulnerable, exposed, and most honest self. In that moment, Birdy finally stopped pretending and acted on his carnal desires, throwing himself into an aggressive kiss with Jia-han.

Jia-han wasn’t really reciprocating in the kiss. Right now, he was in a catatonic shock, still reeling from the realization of what had happened. It was true, it wasn’t just him imagining it, but Birdy had felt the same way about him all along. After the kiss, Birdy broke into tears and started apologizing. He had treated Jia-han terribly and kept pushing him away, but now they both knew the truth: the attraction was mutual.

Jia-han and Birdy shared their first kiss in the shower.
Jia-han and Birdy shared their first kiss in the shower.

The scene where Birdy visited Jia-han’s parents

Unfortunately, the drama continued after the shower scene, as Birdy went back to putting up a facade again. His latest strategy was to simply avoid Jia-han altogether. No matter how hard he tried though, Jia-han was relentless in his pursuit, and won’t give up on his feelings for him.

In a desperate move, Birdy visited Jia-han’s parents, thinking the pressure from his family would help to cool down their relationship. What Birdy underestimated was the extent of Jia-han’s love for him. Pushed to the edge, Jia-han was totally ready to come out to his parents, not giving a damn if anybody knows he’s gay. (Of course, Jia-han’s mom had known about their relationship already and was totally down with the pride parade, hehe. 🏳️‍🌈)

Coming out was a bold and uncharacteristic move for Jia-han, who had typically backed down from taking a stand. It just goes to show you how far Jia-han would go, even to the point of risking the relationship with his family, in order to pursue his feelings towards Birdy. Jia-han was willing to risk and lose everything in his life for him. Sadly, Birdy didn’t have the same courage.

Jia-han almost came out to his parents to prove a point to Birdy.
Jia-han almost came out to his parents to prove a point to Birdy.

Island scene

Okay, I’m not going to be pretentious and pretend to analyze a scene with two naked guys frolicking in the ocean. The movie deemed this gratuitous nudity necessary to the plot and I can’t disagree. It’s hot watching two naked guys kiss on the beach. What more do you want me to say?

On a more serious note, I did think this island scene served as a good palate cleanser. The previous argument between Birdy and Jia-han got really heated, and it would’ve been a huge bummer if the movie ended with the two of them on such ugly terms. Including this scene, where the two characters found a way to release their pent-up sexual tension, made all the drama easier to digest.

Maybe Jia-han and Birdy couldn’t end up together, but at least they can always cherish the memory of their naked romp on the beach. 🌞

Jia-han and Birdy shared a tender kiss on the island before parting ways.
Jia-han and Birdy shared a tender kiss on the island before parting ways.

Phone call scene

In case you were wondering where Your Name Engraved Herein got its name, it was because of this scene. A year after high school, Birdy had cut all ties with Jia-han, but he did get in touch unexpectedly one day, perhaps in a moment of loneliness. Jia-han responded immediately, and it was evident that his feelings remained as strong as ever, even a year later.

During the call, Jia-han played a song over the phone receiver for Birdy. The song was super intense with gut-wrenching lyrics like: “I’ve decided to love, only one for the rest of my life.” It was a pretty melodramatic way of telling Birdy that he wouldn’t be able to love anybody else in this lifetime.

The movie title referred to one of the lyrics in the song. The lyrics spoke of how Jia-han’s love for Birdy was so unmovable that it would forever remain engraved in his soul. Like whoa. That’s hardcore, dude.

Jia-han cries into the phone receiver as he share one last phone call with Birdy.
Jia-han cries into the phone receiver as he share one last phone call with Birdy.

Watch Your Name Engraved Herein Deleted Scenes

Your Name Engraved Herein Online Resources

Links

Theories

    1. You’re very welcome! 🙂 I remember having so many questions the first time I watched Your Name Engraved Herein, and it really motivated me to analyze deeper into this movie.

  1. Thank you. I saw this movie but didn’t understand the bathing scene and was unclear about the ending. Unrequited love sucks. I can relate 20 years later

    1. You’re welcome! I was unclear too the first time I watched those scenes in the movie. Deep down, I could sense there was some meaningful context that evaded me, but I just didn’t get it at the time. Your Name Engraved Herein took on a new layer of emotional nuance once I identified the repressed feelings between the characters. 😢

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